This two-volume history focuses on individual Virginians and is replete with sketches of local individuals (see list of localities at the end of this description), detailing not only theirs and their wife’s and children’s places and dates of birth, but often providing information on previous generations and places of origin. These sketches are rich in information helpful in both scaling “brick walls” and adding depth to the story of one’s ancestors (and the ability to search the full document means the reader won’t miss information).
Apparently based on the model of their successful Historical and Genealogical Encyclopedia, this publication by H. H. Hardesty Co. was written by Robert Alonzo Brock, secretary and librarian of the Virginia Historical Society, a noted Virginia historian and collector, and a prolific writer. Brock begins his history of eminent Virginians with chronological sketches or mini-biographies of the colonial governors or their representatives, followed by the governors of the Commonwealth through William Ewan Cameron who served as governor of Virginia 18821886 reserving his sketch of the current (at that time) governor Fitzhugh Lee for Volume 2. These are followed by “sketches” of Ambrose Powell Hill, R. E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Matthew Fontaine Maury.
A 60-page history of colonial Virginia through the Revolution is followed by a brief 8-page description of Virginia’s history to the Civil War; however, over 150 pages detail events during the “War Between the States.” The history, written by Virgil A. Lewis, who was appointed West Virginia’s first state historian and archivist in 1905, was revised by Brock, but retains many details from western Virginia’s early history. Volume two begins with a 35-page history of the Confederate navy. It is followed by a 50-page chronoogical list of 2,261 Civil War battles and engagements giving the date, name of the battle or engagement and the state in which it occurred. Fifty-plus pages are filled with sketches of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, presidents of the United States, the then current governor of Virginia, Fitzhugh Lee, the author, Major William T. Sutherlin, and General V. D. Groner. The final 250-plus pages in this edition provide sketches of prominent citizens of the counties of Campbell, Dinwiddie, Elizabeth City, Halifax, James City, Nansemond, Norfolk, Nottoway, Pittsylvania, Prince Edward, Warwick and Washington.
Summary by Barbara Vines Little, CG
for Archive CD Books USA
This electronic book includes high-quality images of every page as originally published (not just a transcript) and is fully searchable using Adobe Acrobat Reader (version 4 or later recommended) on any Windows, Macintosh, or Unix computer.